Area: San Francisco Peninsula
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation gain: 700ft (from 680 - 1,250ft)
Of the three different routes to the top of Sweeney Ridge the Skyline College trail to the former Nike missile base certainly gives the best bang for the buck.
Just 1½ miles of trail leads from suburbia to coastal chaparral to hilltop, rewarding the hiker with impressive views in all directions. The initial climb immediately reveals westerly views overlooking Rockaway Beach and the ocean beyond, and only half a mile into the hike there are impressive views of San Andreas lake, the San Francisco peninsula and the distant east bay.
After dipping into a valley the trail ascends again towards the ridgeline destination where you can either choose to explore the abandoned and dilapidated missile base or continue along the Sweeney Ridge.
We recommend this trail during all seasons. You might like to check out the weather before setting off because cloud and coastal fog can obscure the views on occasions, though even hiking through fog up here can still be quite appealing.
Our Sweeney Ridge map and guide leads you to the network of trails around Sweeney Ridge where you can choose between several different routes.